Mooli. Not a vegetable that one is particularly familiar with. For starters it is white, and I’m not terribly convinced by any vegetable that is just white (its just not overly exciting looking is it?). Secondly, they do tend to look like they are going to spring into life and start walking around like something out of Walt Disney’s Fantasia; all those limb like nobbly appendages, it’s a little unnerving.
Mooli is a form of giant radish that is also known as a Daikon. These radishes are grown and used widely in cusines acrossAsia. They are used in pickles, stir frys, salads, and are a principle ingredient in turnip cake (wow, cake made from turnip, imagine the possibilities!) There are many different types that come in many different shapes and sizes; if you want to grow your own, the variety Long White Icicle (this veg just gets better and better) does very well here, coping well in conditions similar to that needed for normal red British radish. It has a mild peppery flavour, and is high in Vitamin C, and so is a really good addition to salads for that extra health kick.
When you receive your mooli, trim off the green sprouts from the top as this diverts moisture away from the radish itself and will dry it out. They will keep for up to 7 days in your fridge, but you can also freeze them. Simply blanch the mooli before freezing, where it will keep quite happily for a few months.
So, what to cook with our mooli? I have never used this vegetable before, so I scoured the internet for a little inspiration. I didn’t want to roast it, as that tends to be my automatic response with any veg that I have never eaten before that looks like it could be roasted. I soon discovered that mooli is used widely in Indian cooking, which made me a very happy cook. I love Indian food; it can take a while to prepare, but the results are always worth it.
Here is an amended recipe for a stuffing for parathas from http://www.indianfoodforever.com/punjabi/mooli-parantha.html. Parathas are Indian breads, they are really easy to make and I really recommend you give them a go. Simply take a cup of wheat flour, add a little salt and a tablespoon of oil, and add water as necessary to make a dough. You want a stiff rather than a sticky dough, just add enough water so that you can handle it and shape it into balls (the kids will have great fun with this bit).
For the stuffing you need:
- 1 grated mooli
- Cumin powder (1 teaspoon)
- Mild chilli powder (to taste)
- 1 finely chopped green chilli
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped coriander leaves
- Garam masala powder (1 teaspoon)
- Turmeric powder (1 teaspoon)
Peel and grate your mooli and squeeze out the water. Heat some oil in a pan, and fry off your green chilli. Add your mooli and the spices, and continue to fry. Finally add the coriander leaves, and keep frying until the mixture is dry (about 5 minutes in total)
Cool down the stuffing, and then roll into balls. Take a ball of your dough the same size as the stuffing balls, and roll out into a flat bread big enough to wrap around your stuffing ball. Place the stuffing ball in the centre of the bread, and fold over the stuffing so that it is encased in the dough. Roll the dough / stuffing combo out again into a flat bread. Fry the bread in a little oil until it has browned on both sides. Serve with raita or pickle.
Another neat idea that I found was raw mooli dipped in hummous. It was amazing! Definitely recommend!